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State can lead the way with innovation for a warming world

Daniel Hertzberg for The Boston Globe

A career in the private sector, both as a corporate executive and as an entrepreneur, has taught me a few things. Jeffrey D. Sachs’s Sept. 26 op-ed “Play the long game on infrastructure” reminded me of two key lessons.

First, spend money to make money. As Sachs points out, throughout American history “each new wave of infrastructure underpinned a half-century of economic growth.” This is something to keep in mind here in Massachusetts, as we grapple with a subpar transit system and roads and bridges in desperate need of more than a little TLC.

Second, think long-term. Sachs makes clear that “transport infrastructure should promote public health and environmental safety.” Instead of investing in what has been, we need to challenge ourselves to invest for what will be. There are transportation solutions that are healthier than the inactivity and stress of sitting in traffic. There are new challenges wrought by climate change that need to be addressed.


Sachs suggests investing in a future where infrastructure supports physical activity, clean air, and reduced carbon emissions. It’s possible for the Commonwealth to comply with the Global Warming Solutions Act and cut carbon. Massachusetts is a leader in innovation. It’s time we applied that to our infrastructure.

Diane Danielson


The writer is the chief operating officer of SVN International Corp., a commercial real estate firm.